A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Harriet may act out, but she's coping with loneliness and rejection. Her actions aren't meant to be taken seriously. She spies on her neighbors, going so far as to sneak into their houses. She also takes revenge on her classmates after they reject her. Kids don't take these things seriously, but instead they help kids deal with their own feelings and work through them.
Positive Role Models
Harriet is a great role model for any child who has dealt with rejection and loneliness. Kids can process their own concerns through Harriet's experience and reactions.
Violence & Scariness
Harriet is upset when her nanny quits, and deeply troubled when her classmates shun her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, even though Harriet is nosy, she thinks a lot of unkind thoughts, and she's also sneaky, stubborn, and is self-absorbed, these very qualities only serve to make her more real and, ultimately, lovable. Kids love her independent thinking and outspoken ways. This is a wonderful story for kids who have ever felt excluded before -- and that's just about every kid.
Is It Any Good?
This book is honest in its portrayal of the desperation and loneliness Harriet feels -- first, when her nanny leaves her and, later, when her friends turn against her. Girls, in particular, will identify with Harriet's strong drive to be true to herself in this longtime children's favorite.
Best of all, while HARRIET THE SPY deals with tough problems, such as how to deal with peer rejection and how to carry on without a beloved friend, it also manages, thanks to author Louise Fitzhugh's keen sense of the ridiculous, to be cheerful and often hilarious. Readers may even be inspired to start keeping their own notebooks -- though they shouldn't be so zealous as she is.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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